Author Archive

Karma Nabulsi

Karma Nabulsi is a Fellow at St Edmund Hall and teaches politics and international relations at Oxford University.

Republicanism can be explored as a tradition of practices and virtues, tied to the creation of revolutions. At this tradition’s core, and what attaches it through time and place, lies a recurring dominant principle – that of popular sovereignty. Hannah Arendt, for one, doesn’t think there can be such a tradition of revolutions, because it is a treasure, a public good, which she claims is irrevocably lost between generations. In her The Gap between the Past and the Future, she begins her own quest for the lost treasure of revolutions with the mysteries of its definition: “The history of revolutions… could be told in parable form as the tale of an age-old treasure which, under the most varied circumstances, appears abruptly, unexpectedly, and disappears again, under different mysterious conditions, as though it were a fata morgana. There exist, indeed, many good reasons to believe that the treasure was never a reality but a mirage, that we deal here not with anything substantial but with an apparition, and the best of these reasons is that the treasure thus far has remained nameless. Does something exist, not in outer space but in the world and the affairs of men on earth, which has not even a name? Unicorns and fairy queens seem to possess more reality than the lost treasure of the revolutions.”